South Shields Local History Group

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Flagg, Amy

Local historian, Miss Amy C. Flagg, spent years of research, scouring documents to compile a history of South Shields.

Few provincial towns can have such a thorough documentation of their history.  The self-effacing Miss Flagg wrote the histories of Marsden, Simonside, East Jarrow, the Ingham Infirmary, Westoe Village and the Village’s houses.  She produced a paper on the town’s water supplies, a pamphlet on glass-making, an illustrated scrap book on the town’s centenary and a history of ship-building in South Shields from 1746 – 1946.

Flagg Family (South Tyneside Libraries, STH0002181)

Her studious, bent figure was known in public libraries and research centres across the north-east.  She was continually surprising librarians asking to see little-known documents.  She compiled her facts in a neat, legible hand and then typed them herself – on an electric typewriter.

All her notes have been bound and carefully indexed and are available for reference in South Tyneside Local Studies Library.  In 1976, South Tyneside Borough Council published her “Notes on the History of Shipbuilding in South Shields 1746 – 1946”

Miss Flagg, an amateur photographer, also took many photographs of South Shields.  She became the official photographer of Air Raid damage for the County Borough of South Shields in the 1939-45 War.  She processed every print herself.  Many of the photographs were published, with the permission of the Ministry of Information, in a pictorial record “Humanity and Courage”.  Amy Flagg gave profits from the sale of the booklets to the Ingham Infirmary and to the Red Cross Prisoners of War Fund.

She had a retiring nature, but her almost daily journeys to South Shields Public Library were punctuated by chats with many who knew her.  Such was her generous nature she has donated all her papers and her collection of photographs to South Shields Public Library for use by other researchers.

Until the autumn of 1962 Miss Flagg lived at Chapel House in Westoe Village, the house where she was born.  She gave the house and grounds to South Shields Corporation to be used for the continued development of South Shields Marine and Technical College.

Flagg House Bombed (South Tyneside Libraries, Flagg STH0000216)

This gift must have caused much heart-searching, for Chapel House is a house with a history.  Old records show that the house stands upon the site of a medieval chapel dedicated to St.  Lawrence.  The garden, in which Miss Flagg spent countless hours of work, had been lovingly cultivated over the centuries; the central part of it dated back to 1872.

From that time, until her death in 1965, Miss Flagg continued to live in Westoe Village at the house of a friend.

South Shields Local History Group, Sand Dancer Leaflet
South Shields Gazette
South Shields Museum and Art Gallery

South Tyneside Libraries

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